Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thanksgiving in Williston, ND

On Thanksgiving morning, I had to shingle a roof, in the cold, snowing wind! Holy crap it was sketchy! I got wind burned on my face. It was so cold, I felt like Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins when he goes to find Ra’s Al Ghul in the cold mountains! Any exposed skin was murdered! I was warm enough because I layered, except for my feet. I was wearing normal shoes and socks. Should have worn my heavy socks and boots, but didn’t think it would be that bad. Nobody did. Actually it was the first time I ever shingled a roof too. Ha Ha! We did it for like four hours. We got it all done though! We did it for a less active guy named Jefferson McKenly. He was nice and did most of the work, but heck, it was a shed-like hut that he is going to live in! It’s a trailer! I told him I want to see it when he’s done. It’s also in the middle of nowhere in a muddy spot of land. It’s a perfect place for a bachelor and his dog. Ha Ha! 

Hey, it makes a great memory for Thanksgiving Day! I gave alright! I think I almost lost my toes! My feet at the end were frozen and so numb! When I went to bed last night, two nights ago I mean, my face still felt like there was wind blowing on it!
(In a message to the family in our ward who recently brought us a tender mercy as we work to get Kent ready for his mission, and continue to support Chan as he serves—you know who you are, but we don’t, but we certainly appreciate what you did for our sons.) Wow! That is great. Tell the ward thank you, and I'll try my hardest to make the family and our ward proud! That is a great blessing! That makes me grateful! I can’t believe it! It really shows how people care. This is a great ward (the Wolf Hollow 1st Ward) I see it more and more everyday while I'm out here!
Elder Chan Staheli

Elder Chan Staheli with Brother Zak Dietz.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Last Stand in Huron

Dah Jr and Zed, Diane’s Hake’s nephew

The Karen people are a big part of Huron, SD. They are currently 15% of the population. By next year they will be 20% of the population! 20 of our 80 active members of the Huron ward are Karen, so there is a need for Karen or Burmese elders. The growth of our church right now in Huron is the Karens! The real trouble is the language barrier. Only 2 million people in the world can speak Karen, a sect of the Burmese language. In turn, there is no Book of Mormon in Karen, so our Karen members only go by their undying faith. Faith is the reason these people come to church. For 3 hours they sit through mostly English lessons. Brother Barton teaches Gospel basics and a Karen priesthood holder, Da Poe, translates and teaches the class too, so that helps a lot. 

In September, Elder Black and I are preparing a Karen lady to be baptized! The funny thing is we already thought she was a member. When we first met her, we got a call from the office that they had a referral for us. It was for someone who was a member, Bruce Lee (Yeah, I know. Awesome name.) He was referred by his sister-in-law living in Salt Lake City who was preparing to move here because her husband, John Menlaw, was living with Bruce Lee and his wife, Dah Jr. They wanted Elder Black and me to get them reactivated so when Da Blu Ma, the really active one, moved she would come into an active home and they could all live peacefully. Of course I was excited to reactivate the legendary Bruce Lee! 

We got to the apartments, were greeted warmly, and shown certificates of membership. Bruce Lee told us he had been living in Huron for 2 years and never went to church because he didn’t know where it was (Devil alert! The adversary is very cunning.) His wife Dah Jr asked us if we could give her baby a blessing because she was sick. We did. (My 2nd ever blessing). I was scared, but I was able to bless her with confidence and ease. It felt good. Dah Jr also asked if her baby could have a baby blessing on Sunday. 

Bishop White tried to find paperwork on Dah Jr, but couldn’t find it. Dah Jr, Bruce Lee, and John Menlaw all went to church and have been going for awhile now. I never thought Dah Jr was not a member, until last Sunday when the bishop called us into his office. Bruce Lee and Dah Jr and their baby were already sitting in the office. Dah Jr asked to be baptized! I felt dumb. All this time searching for investigators to be baptized and Dah Jr, who wasn’t a member yet, was right under our very nose! After that we set a date. 

Yesterday we taught her almost all the lessons in one night! Dah Jr is on fire right now! It’s time to put out that fire with the waters of baptism. This experience has made my faith grow stronger. I know in the next couple of weeks leading up to Dah Jr’s baptism the devil will do all he can to destroy her, but I’ll be there to backhand and sucker punch that devil if he tries anything funny! We want Bruce Lee to baptize Dah Jr, but he is too shy , but we’ll work with him and hopefully he will come around.   

Dah Jr was baptized on September 15th, and Chan was transferred to Williston, SD, on September 24. Since Williston only has one ward, he is there with our neighbor, Brother Zak Dietz, who works in Williston. He says seeing Brother Dietz last Sunday was a “Godsend.” His cousin, Bridgette Clarke and another cousin’s husband also work there, so he may run into them too.  It really is a small world.

Elder Chan Staheli with his former Priests Quorum adviser, Brother Zak Dietz.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

It's a Small World

It’s amazing that the coming of September means that Chan is nearing the one-quarter mark of his mission. He’s had a wonderful time in Huron, SD, and has met many great people. He anticipates he will be transferred later this month. Some of you have already heard about one of his upcoming baptisms, and the little seed that was planted here in the Wolf Hollow ward, but I’ll share it again in case you didn’t hear me tell it in Relief Society. A couple of weeks ago, Mike, Zach and I were coming home from Moab when Kent told us we had had a visitor from Chan’s ward in Huron. He couldn’t remember her name, but she said she remembered both Chan and Kent from when they were little boys and we first adopted them.
The following Monday, we had a letter from Chan: “We have a 15-year-old named Zediciah on date for baptism right now. . . We got referred to him by Tobi Hakes, a member who used to live in Utah in our same ward. She remembers me when I was first here at age 6. She remembered how crazy Kent and I were. When we were planning for the day, I felt inspired to go and visit her, not knowing that she was even from Spanish Fork and already knew me. We had a wonderful visit, and at the end she referred us to her family (her sister and step-brother, plus their son Zed). Heavenly Father truly led me to Tobi Hakes, and she in turn led me to her nephew Zed and his less-active mother and step-father, who is a non-member. Because Zed wants to be baptized, this will affect his parents to be reactivated and converted. I know and believe that will happen.”
For those of you who haven’t figured it out, Tobi Hakes was known as Diane Hakes when she lived in the home that now belongs to the Dietz family. Chan says he now knows exactly why he was sent to Huron, SD, because Tobi (Diane) was waiting for him to come, and that she felt comfortable enough to introduce him to her family because she remembered him from when he was just a little boy. We never know when the seeds of our actions will bear fruit.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chan's Buddhist Friend

Elder Chan Staheli with his Buddhist friend, Denver Smith

Elder Chan Staheli says Denver Smith said, "I reminded him of Brandon Lee. He (Denver) found out about Brandon Lee's death while he (Denver) was playing poker with Lou Diamond Phillips. I told him I met Lou, too, on my first day with our family when I met Dad on the set of Bats."

Monday, August 13, 2012

August newsletter- Teaching the Gospel

Letter from Chan:

We are currently trying to convert a Buddhist guy. We tracted into him, and he seemed very excited to meet with us, but he was sick at the time. So he told us to come back the same time, same day next week, so we did. 

We were excited, but didn’t know what to expect. He seemed too easy in our first meeting with him. We found out he was Buddhist as we visited with him for three hours. Mostly he was talking with us about Buddhism to kind of know where this guy was coming from. 

Turns out their way of thinking is way different from our teachings, in fact, way different to the whole Christian belief system. So Dad, did you convert any Buddhists? (Mike served his mission in Japan, and met many Buddhists.) If you did, then tell me your secrets because, Holy Smokes, this way of thinking is like from a whole different planet! An Eastern point of view, I suppose. We believe there is a heaven and we need to get there. They believe this is heaven and that we are living it right now! And depending on how you live in this world, it will determine what you are when you are reincarnated. 

Besides that part their way about things are not bad, in fact, this guy is more dedicated to this than I see most Christians! From what I see at least, he is being true to himself and his belief. Now we just got to get him on our side. The funny thing is he’s trying to convert us while we are trying to convert him. He’s a white guy, about 60 years old. Man I wish he was a full blown Asian with a long fu man-chu and the monk robes, but nope. 

At the end of our three hour debacle we tried closing things up with a prayer, as you always should. He said, “Pray? What kind of pray?” Then he brings out some chairs, setting them up in from of what I think was a shrine, a Japanese shrine. It was closed up like a chest of drawers, then he opened it up and there was a scroll hung up inside with Japanese writing on it that had the words saying a prayer phrase and he repeated it three times. It was in Japanese. Then he had me do the same thing (Chan took Japanese in high school, so I guess he recognized the words.) I put my hands together, not balled up, but flat together, then said the prayer three times in a row. It’s like praying to yourself, empowering yourself. I didn’t feel bad or afraid of doing it. It was, “Hey. I respect you and your religion. I’m not above you, this prayer, this way of doing it. I’m not above it.” It felt like doing the same things in Japan when we participated in those spiritual-type places to take in the culture, but also for the utmost respect. (Chan, Tommy and Mike went to Japan in a school trip three summers ago.) So I prayed with him. 

Elder Black, who doesn’t have the same background as me, was scared and confused, which is understandable. He thought we were praying to an idol, so he kind of said the prayer, but not really. I could tell he was really uncomfortable and slurred his words and did it quietly. But I understood where he was coming from. 

So Dad, what do you suggest? I’ve sure you’ve converted people like him on your mission? He said he wouldn’t be a Buddhist if he didn’t try to convert us, so not only are we trying to convert him, he’s trying to convert us!  

(Chan might find it easier to convert this statue of Abe Lincoln, than his Buddhist contact, but at least he’s trying. ;-)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Huron, SD June 2012 Update

 Transfers draw near and, by the time you get this letter, it will be even closer, if not already happening. I did splits with the Mitchel elder, who came to me this time, so I was the one making the calls, preparing me for the inevitable area-taking-over. When transfers happen I will most likely stay and Elder Young leave, so I will be the one over this area since I'd know it better than whoever my next companion will be. I feel ready, ready as I'll ever be anyway. Ha Ha!

So far my area is pretty dead in the water right now. All of our investigators have flaked out on us. I blame it on the summertime. Everybody just wants to play, which I don't blame them. I want to play with the new summer movies! Even though it seems like my work here is declining, I'm ok. I always look for the bright side of things. Missionary work is no all "Skittles and Root Beer." Hey, making movies isn't either. There's always going to be problem that define us! This is coming from a kid who always laughs at serious situations! My life is a comedy, and after my mission it'll be a romantic comedy. The prophets really do want you to marry when missionaries return. It shocks me. I always though you have to gain a career before you get married! I tell you what, my wife would have to be crazy if she's going to put up with me!

Most of my missionary work is tracting now. I don't mind tracting, but trying to find an area to tract in is what I don't really like! It's like "Where do you want to tract?" "I don't know, where do you want to tract?" So I just pick a random area (close to the apartments). When we get done, Elder Young goes, "I think I already did this area." Hey, if you keep asking, maybe they'll end up saying yes, come in and teach.

It was interesting to see an article in the Church LDS newspaper that there is a black kid, 6'9" from Chicago who is LDS on the over of Sports Illustrated Magazine saying that his faith is more important than his potential NBA career. The SI reporter doing the story is LDS too. The article in the magazine is perfect for people to get to know our church better. I was also excited to hear he is the best high school basketball player since LaBron James! And that he is a Mormon! Mormons are getting famous! Ya! Or at least noticeable. Now all they need is a big time Hollywood director Mormon!

There are definitely a lot of bugs and wildlife over here, more so than Utah. I have to use Bug Off constantly. Work has been a little slow, and we haven't been involved with the ward members lately either. We missed our weekly dinners with the three families we always eat at for two weeks now, but we got to go to a birthday party of a three year old the other day. They were members.

There's an awesome guy here who has been a blessing to the missionaries for 8 years now. He does a lot of service for us out here. He gets us into the public and always talks very highly of us. He makes missionaries look good to the town and shoots down any negative rumors about us as well. He works at the post office so he knows the whole town. He gives us connections, He is a very powerful ally.

Love, Elder Chan Michael Staheli

Monday, April 16, 2012

Elder Chan Staheli with Elder Carson Young, Huron, SD

I am settling well here. There’s not another missionary for miles and there are a lot of Karen people here; they are refuges from Burma, the victims in Rambo 4. Fourteen of them come to church already. They have and old legend that there was a gold book that an Asian had and a white guy had. The Asian lost his copy so the white man has to share with the Karen people to bring them salvation. The legend goes something like that. The only problem is there is no Karen translation of the Book of Mormon. My companion is trying to learn the language and wants to translate the Book of Mormon to Karen when he returns home. They are very humble people, and if they understand the Book of Mormon—the gold book—then they will be baptized! But we have a language barrier! I hear there’s a lot of Karen people in Salt Lake as well. We need to feed a Karen man who is a strong Mormon and can translate the Book of Mormon fast because when that’s done we got a lot of baptisms on our hands!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Elder Chan Staheli with President and Sister Layton

Elder Chan Staheli made it to the mission home in South Dakota Rapid City last night, April 9, 2012.

Here he poses, in typical Chan fashion, with his mission president, President Layton and Sister Layton.

Today he finds out who is trainer will be and his first area.

I'll update with an address once we know, possibly tonight.